Cross compliance regulation in Wales should not place farmers at a competitive disadvantage to their UK and European counterparts, according to NFU Cymru.
In its response to the recent Welsh Government consultation on cross compliance, the Union has highlighted that any cross compliance requirements imposed at Wales level over and above the EU standard can only be viewed as ‘gold plating’ of regulation which will ultimately make producers here in Wales less competitive.
NFU Cymru President, Stephen James, speaking at today’s Vale of Glamorgan Show said, “We are very disappointed that Welsh Government proposes to ‘shoehorn’ a number of GAECs that are not required by Europe into the new cross compliance framework and also introduce additional requirements, many of which are already covered by existing separate regulations. We believe it is wholly unfair that farmers in Wales will face more costly or burdensome conditions to unlock the Basic Payment Scheme than farmers elsewhere.”
NFU Cymru has also called for a more proportionate approach to the application of penalties. Stephen James said, “There is a need for Welsh Government to recognise that there are occasions when breaches of cross compliance are neither intentional or negligent and are completely beyond the farmer’s control.
“There is a clear need for a mechanism to allow flexibility within cross compliance rules going forward to take into account, for example, adverse weather patterns.”
Mr James concluded, “EU Regulations provide the opportunity for Welsh Government to set up an early warning system applying to cases of non-compliance of a minor severity, extent and duration. NFU Cymru urges Welsh Government and its delivery bodies to take up this option and apply it to as many elements of the future cross compliance standards as possible.”